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This paper empirically documents media portrayals of Australia’s performance on the Program for the International Student Assessment (PISA), 2000–2014. We analyse newspaper articles from two national and eight metropolitan newspapers. This analysis demonstrates increased media coverage of PISA over the period in question. Our research data were analysed using ‘framing theory’, documenting how the media frames stories about Australia’s performance on PISA. Three frames were identified: counts and comparisons; criticisms; and contexts. Most of the media coverage (41%) was concerned with the first frame, counts and comparisons, which analysed PISA data to provide ‘evidence’ that was then used to comparatively position Australia against other countries, reference societies, which do better, with particular emphasis on Finland and also Shanghai after the 2009 PISA. The other two frames dealt with criticisms and contextual issues. This paper only focuses on the first frame. The analysis demonstrates the ways in which media coverage of Australia’s PISA performance has had policy impact.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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